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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The suspicious death of a homeless man found along New Centre Drive may have uncovered a larger problem in the area.

While police continue to investigate the death of Judson Lee Poland Jr., the community is working to end one of the factors that may have contributed to his death.

Since purchasing the old Wilson’s restaurant in February, leaders at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church have been working to make it the dream home for their growing congregation. Little did they know that a group of vagrants were already calling the building home.

“It was a total shock,” Rev. Terry Henry said. “Several of us ride by there almost daily just to check on things, and we had not been going in the back. There were beer cans and beer boxes, a lot of debris and a lot of things that tell me that they had been involved in some things that are not good. We were not aware that there was someone living there.”

After the death of a man who reportedly camped in the building, leaders of the church were left with no choice but to kick out everyone living in the homeless camp, but first they wanted to try and help them.

“One guy said he was staying, and his tent was there, so I’m going to call the Salvation Army and make some other phone calls to some of the centers that I know of, and perhaps they can house these individuals,” Henry said. “It’s cold outside, and no one wants to be in the cold.”

For years the City of Wilmington has been working to end homeless camps like the one that was behind the old Wilson’s. The city says that in a five-year span it has reduced the number of homeless from 211 all the way down to 43, but even one homeless person is too many.

“A homeless person with a bologna sandwich is still homeless. A homeless person with a nice warm blanket is still homeless,” said Dan Ferrell, Strategic Director for the 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and Reduce Homelessness in the Cape Fear Region. “We’re all for moving people from encampments and from unhoused situations into stable supportive housing. The only antidote for homelessness is housing.”

Before leaving their camp at the old Wilson’s restaurant, the homeless volunteered to clean up the mess they had made.

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9 Comments on "ONLY ON 3: Man’s death reveals homeless camp in old restaurant"

Mad as He**
2015 years 10 months ago

Some homeless people want to be homeless and the others can apply for Section 8 housing subsidy and will receive up to $2,200 a month for rent and utilities. They live better than I do and us working stiffs are paying for it!! Go figure!

Look Again Wilmington
2015 years 10 months ago

The city seriously is going to say there are only 43 homeless people in Wilmington? This is obviously not true. There are at least that many homeless people near Kidder and 16th St that live in the woods and abandoned buildings around there. I dont know their condition or reasons for their being homeless, be it their fault, drugs, crime or bad luck, but they are here and there is alot more than any 43! That 43 is probabally like the statistics of AIDS you say 10 people when realistically there are hundreds and thousands, ones you dont know about or DONT WANT to know about or claim they are there. It is all politics as surely to advertise the ever GROWING population of homeless in Wilmington would possibly effect the Tourism and even the “Move Here” ads they do to uplift our community. Look around gangs, drugs, violence and “the HOMELESS” are in Wilmington and you can fancy it all up with professional pictures and ads in your fancy magazines but when the folks get here and see the nightly news they will know the TRUTH of Wilmington! We have had how many homeless people die or be killed in the past few months in Wilmington? So that means what there were like 50 and we are quickly dwindling them down! By this time next year at this rate there will be none! Good job city of Wilmington!!Pat yourselves on the back, give yourselves a pay raise at our expense, or do a high dollar party or vacation! Ridiculous!!!

2015 years 10 months ago

Why don’t these homeless individuals live inside Walmart instead of in an abandoned building next to Walmart. With Walmart being open 24 hours, they could have free access to electricity, heat, water, restrooms, food … heck they could even crawl into a pup-tent in the sporting goods dept to catch some shut-eye.

Michelle Mena
2015 years 10 months ago

Are there any leads that police feel will lead to an arrest? It makes my heart hurt to know how many times I drove right past there without having any idea there were people living out back. It is so sad that a 48 year olds life ended that way.

2015 years 10 months ago

Too many homeless are veterans. Where are Veteran’s outreach services?

2015 years 10 months ago

If you have looked recently, There is no subsidized or section 8 housing anymore in Wilmington North Carolina. At social services they say there is a new space available indefinitely want to further notice. that is a fact. as far as living better than you, if you were homeless and then received+
Housing support- you would probably just be grateful having lived on the these people are not doing better off than you and I are often have suffered for many many years homeless.streets. also, the nerve of some City Council mean to say that there are 48 to a person, homeless people in Wilmington having to have to live on the streets right now, I can tell you that they number in the upper hundreds if not at least a thousand people. Where do they get the stupid sytatistics from?captcha

2015 years 10 months ago

Are you hiring. If so do you pay enough that I don’t need social welfare or are you just going to give me an earful about my “right to work” …..for less.

2015 years 10 months ago

First, it’s a really bad joke that the city stated that they were 48 to a person, homeless people in Wilmington North Carolina. This person should be fired point blank. Being homeless right now, I can tell you that there are hundreds if not a thousand or more, homeless people in Wilmington some have medical problems, some have mental health problems, some are addicted to drugs and or alcohol. There are also some, who have sound on bad times 22 very unusual circumstances and are looking for work even know they may or may not be fit for work and cannot find it. There is no more room on section 8 housing, and there is a backgrounds on people with disability cases who cannot work numbering in the years. This city does not have an answer or a plan for the homeless They are lying. All they want to do is sweep people from out of the public view and of course not allow them to stay in any woods with no trespassing signs eccentric center. Which leaves nowhere for a homeless person to be allowed legally to stay, except in a couple of shelters that charge rent and or run down. The homeless are constantly harassed, and blamed for all were a lot of crimes. This may be the case with a few individuals, but is not the case for the majority believe it or not. Yet despite this the loan for SMent evidently has nothing else to do but harass the homeless people by constantly giving them tickets anywhere from an open container to a trespassing charge Exedra Exedra Exedra this city’s answer is still as it stands in 2004 when a cancer man by the name of times and said that he has the solution to the homeless, buy them a one way ticket out of Wilmington.

2015 years 10 months ago

What’s this I hear on NPR today but a headline about an American arrested in North Korea for photographing homeless people and charged with crimes against the state? In Wilmington NC, we have about 1000 homeless people and those in power make sure they are kept out of sight. They are run off the streets so into the woods. They are run out of the woods so they squat in pre-recession over-contruction that has been abandoned. There are 40 empty homes in the USA for every homeless person. The USA and in particular it’s corporate sponsored media needs to get over itself. http://occupywilmingtonnc.org


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